Back pain is a common issue in UK. Recent data has shown 80% of the nation will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime. This Chiropractic Awareness Week (4-10 April), we have been encouraging Brits to take back their back health.
Is back pain common?
There are currently 10 million people in the UK living with back pain. Research from the British Chiropractic Association found that cases of back pain rose by a third during the COVID pandemic and resulting lockdowns. Despite this increase, only 10% of people experiencing symptoms sought support from a GP or chiropractor. 46% of people did not take any steps at all to tackle their back pain. This indicates a large portion of the population is still living with daily symptoms into 2022.
Evidence shows if you improve your daily routine you can reduce symptoms and the risk of developing further issues with your spine.
Here are our five top tips from that anyone can take to support their back health:
Start the day right and keep on moving: Physical activity can be beneficial for managing back pain. Aim to incorporate at least 30 minutes of movement per day. If the exercise is of moderate to high intensity, it is imperative to warm up and down properly to get your body ready to move. If a previous injury is causing you pain, adapt your exercise or seek advice. Activities such as swimming, walking or yoga can be less demanding on your body, while keeping you mobile!
Take a break: If you sit for long periods of time as part of your job, ensure you stand up and move around every 30 minutes. This also applies to hybrid workers- those working from a variety of settings. People working from home may be especially vulnerable to prolonged poor sitting posture, especially without suitable ergonomic office equipment.
Lifting and carrying: If you’re taking on DIY or spring-cleaning projects this Easter, remember to bend from the knees, not the waist when lifting heavy items. Face in the direction of movement and take your time. Hold the object as close to your body as possible. If you can avoid carrying objects which are too heavy to manage alone, ask for help or use the necessary equipment.
Sleep comfortably: The Sleep Council recommends buying a new mattress at least every seven years. Mattresses lose their support over time. If you can feel the springs through your mattress, or the mattress is no longer level, your mattress is no longer providing the support you need. Everyone has different support requirements, so when purchasing your mattress ensure it is supportive for you. If you share a bed and require a different mattress type to your partner, consider two single mattresses which are designed to be joined together. This will ensure you both get the support you need.
Seek out support: If your symptoms of back or joint pain last more than two weeks, or prevent you from carrying out your daily routines, see a chiropractor or GP for advice. You can find a registered chiropractor on our ‘Find a Chiropractor’ page.
Myth Busting This Chiropractic Awareness Week, we also wanted to answer a few of the most common myths and misconceptions around chiropractic treatment:
Chiropractic is just cracking backs= MYTH. In the UK, chiropractic is a regulated profession. Chiropractors provide patients with a whole wealth of treatments, the spinal adjustment being just one. There’s no one fit approach and every patient’s plan is treated individually. The crack or popping sound produced from a manipulation, comes from a pocket of air being released between the joints. It’s generated by something called a cavitation.
Chiropractors are massage therapists with a different name = MYTH. Chiropractors are extensively trained to diagnose, treat, manage and prevent disorders of the musculoskeletal system (bones, joints, and muscles). Treatment may also help resolve or improve the nervous system and general health. The General Chiropractic Council, a regulatory body, requires chiropractors to complete a four or five year degree.
Chiropractic leads to a dependence on treatment, rather than solving the problem = MYTH. The goal of a chiropractor is always to create a bespoke work and care plan for each patient. The aim is to remove the pain and restore function in the safest and most efficient way possible.
Making a few changes to your daily routine can make a significant difference to your spinal health.